England has nixed school mask mandates, embracing a more laissez-faire approach even as cases and COVID-related absences soar among school-age children, The New York Times reports.
Government officials say the numbers support the decision:
- 90% percent of the 8.4 million students in state-run schools are in class, and schools are functioning close to normally.
- Overall, daily cases are tracking several thousands lower than when schools opened early last month—thanks largely to high vaccination coverage among adults.
But infections are rising fast among school-age children, and COVID-related school absences rose 2 thirds in the last 2 weeks of September, Reuters reports.
Critics say kids are being exposed to a “national chickenpox party” sure to result in infections, long COVID, and deaths. Others say the government is right to prioritize a return to routine, according to the Times.
UN-backed initiative reached 4.6 million children in ‘crisis within a crisis’ – UN News
Few Masks. Sick Kids. Packed ERs. How One District’s First Four Weeks of School Went Bad. – ProPublica
Alabama isn’t reporting school COVID outbreaks, contact tracing. Here’s why. – Al.com
COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools already 8 times higher than last year – Bridge Michigan